Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Category 4 Hurricane Ike fiercer as Hanna strengthens

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Hurricane Ike strengthened rapidly into an fiercely dangerous Category 4 hurricane in the open Atlantic on Wednesday and Tropical Storm Hanna intensified to a lesser degree as it swirled over the Bahamas toward the southeast U.S. Coast.


Australia: Rain deluges southeast Queensland coastal areas

Up to 95mm of rain has fallen in southeast Queensland today, and it's been in all the right places. What's more, it's set to continue for another 24 hours.

Rain Deluge in Queensland
©Peter Wallis
Waterworld... Cars drive through a pool of water on Newmarket Road. Brisbane is expecting heavy rain Thursday.


Ike strengthens into major Category 4 hurricane

WASHINGTON - Hurricane Ike strengthened rapidly into an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm in the Atlantic Ocean with 135 mph (215 kph) winds late on Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.


Inept response to floods outrages India

For several days, Urmi Mahato and her family were glued to the radio and TV, eager for information on rising floodwaters and waiting for the government to tell them whether and when to evacuate their home.

The warning never came, and officials assured there was no danger. Then one morning a wall of water crumpled the river's mud embankment, swamping the village and sweeping away her family.

"I do not know where to look for them, there is no one to help me," said the 24-year-old woman, sitting at a government relief camp in Bihar, one of India's poorest states.

Cloud Lightning

It's Atlantic Coast's turn as Hanna eyes Southeast

Charleston, SC - Officials along the southern Atlantic coast held off ordering evacuations Wednesday amid uncertainty about where Tropical Storm Hanna might come ashore and how strong it will be when it gets there.

Instead, they kept close tabs as Hanna battered the southern Bahamas and Haiti. Forecasters tentatively predicted the storm would return to hurricane strength before hitting somewhere along the South Carolina and North Carolina coasts, probably Saturday.

Some coastal residents booked inland hotel rooms while others gave a collective shrug. Officials contemplated whether to order evacuations, make them voluntary or simply tell people to sit tight, a decision complicated by Hanna's unpredictability.

"It's much more difficult than if it's coming straight at you," said Clayton Scott, emergency management director for the county that includes Savannah, Ga.

Hanna, responsible for at least 26 deaths in Haiti, had state disaster planners considering turning major highways into one-way evacuation routes for the roughly 1 million people who live between Savannah and Wilmington, N.C.

Arrow Down

Lebanon: Part of Sidon's trash mountain collapses into sea again

sidon trash mountain
Sidon: Part of the mountain of waste on the Sidon seafront collapsed into the sea yet again Tuesday, sending tons of garbage into the water and the so-called "buffer zone" set up between the sea and the dump's edge. Sidon's municipality rushed to send a bulldozer to move rubbish from the buffer zone only, while great quantities of waste sank into the waters.


Flushing live goldfish now illegal in Switzerland; they must be killed first

Want to get rid of your goldfish? Swiss owners who have been flushing them down the toilet - still alive - must now find other methods since strict, new animal protection laws took effect today.

Instead, a fish must be first knocked out and then killed before its body can be disposed of, the law stipulates.

The new legislation spells out in exhaustive detail how all domestic animals are to be treated, whether they be pets, farm animals or destined for scientific experiments.


Massive Canadian Arctic ice shelf breaks away

A huge 55-square-kilometre ice shelf in Canada's northern Arctic broke away last month and the remaining shelves have shrunk at a "massive and disturbing" rate. These are the latest signs of accelerating climate change in the remote region, scientists said on Tuesday.

They said the Markham Ice Shelf, one of just five remaining ice shelves in the Canadian Arctic, split away from Ellesmere Island in early August. They also said two large chunks totalling 120 square km had broken off the nearby Serson Ice Shelf, reducing it in size by 60%.

"The changes ... were massive and disturbing," says Warwick Vincent, director of the Centre for Northern Studies at Laval University in Quebec.

Temperatures in large parts of the Arctic have risen far faster than the global average in recent decades, a development that experts say is linked to global warming.


Venison's fine, but wolves prefer salmon

Wolves are not quite the red-blooded hunters we thought they were. It appears they prefer to dine on a nice piece of salmon rather than deer.

Ecological studies into predator-prey relations have traditionally shown that wolves feed on hoofed animals like deer, elk and moose, particularly during the spring and summer. However, ecologists have recently noticed that the fanged animals can capture and eat salmon in the autumn when the fish swim upriver.

Cloud Lightning

Monsoon misery spreads in India

Guwahati - Heavy rains and rising floodwaters forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in northeastern India and sent elephants and rhinos fleeing, as monsoon misery spread in South Asia.

floodwaters at Chandpura
©REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files
A girl holds a goat as she makes her way through floodwaters at Chandpura village of Madhepura district in India's eastern state of Bihar, August 31, 2008.

In the eastern Indian state of Bihar, desperate flood victims attacked a warehouse and looted food supplies, while in neighboring Bangladesh major rivers rose to danger levels and fresh parts of the country were submerged.

In the northeastern state of Assam, heavy rains caused water levels to rise on Tuesday, affecting more than a million people and disrupting road networks for the second consecutive day.

Animals fled to higher ground in Kaziranga National Park after the Brahmaputra burst its banks and flooded most of the park, home to more than half of the world's population of one-horned rhinoceros.